Why do I cling to the comfort of my negativity? Life’s been rough for sure over the past, well quite a long while, but I feel, that for some, trauma and hardship brew resilience and yet for others, such as myself, it just further breaks down the already diminutive person our trauma shrunk us into. Feeling negative about myself has become a safe space, a cushion that I comfort myself with each time I dare to break beyond my own bubble of gloom. I try to compensate for this by desiring such great perfection, inducing an anxiety that only paralyses me. It’s because I’m just so damn scared of the world, of all the people in it, one faceless mass of judgmental, smarter than me, stronger than me, more capable than me persons to whom I am constantly at the cusp of exposing my inadequacy and …. losing ‘it all’. I don’t want to be scared anymore, I don’t want to punish myself by expecting such greatness, why can I not just nurture little me to safely step into the world which is not so scary as I have made it tomade to be. I’m tired, I just want peace and I want little me to come out and have a little picnic with the world, a cup of tea and lie there in the sun, not compelled by any force to do or be otherwise.
I miss you, how excited you used to be about the world and all its glories (the sun, the water PUDDLES) I miss how excited you were to see you friends, how much fun it was to run around and play. How much of life was just such an exciting adventure.
How we used to hop, skip, and jump over hurdles, one two three, run from our fears giddy, “you can’t catch me!”
Then after days of adventure, be carried from the car to the warmest bed, gift wrapped in the warmest blanket.
How easy was it to be carried up the mountain to be shown those breath-taking views? Then, you grew up, didn’t you? You decided to climb the next mountain on your own. Being carried came with a cost, you couldn’t decide where you were going. Bit by bit you learnt to walk on your own with doubting legs that stumbled and fell over too many times to count. Too many times you were told to give up, your fawn legs, your mad mind can’t hold you, can’t carry yourself all the way up that mountain. You decided not to look up at the sky, at the freedom you could have one day, but instead at your bruised and bloody feet. Why don’t my legs move like the other climber’s’, so nimble and nice to themselves, speedily confidently getting up there, to the unreachable. You shrink your eyes, get so dizzy, so drunk it would give you tunnel vision. You will get to the top, whenever it takes, breathe, eat, only to stay a little alive.
Other climbers, stags, mountain goats, other deer, they don’t carry what you do, remember that they can’t hear the old echoes in your head, they don’t know you gave up being carried. Just smile, remember where you came from, where you started, what you gave up. These resilient muscle fibres are inside you, you can feel them pulling, working yet they will just see your skin. That is okay, they didn’t come to see you, they came for the view, and you did too.
You look down and see how far you have come, and you freeze, how did I get up here? How did I come so far and not even know it?
A part of you even wants to jump. Doesn’t that happen? When you are so high up, at the edge of a cliff, part of our self-preservation kicks in. Or is it self-destruction? At this height I can’t tell the difference. Maybe we have vertigo. It wasn’t you that was meant to be here. I could never be successful; you are still you? Sstill scared, still breathless, still climbing.
This fear of losing it all, of slipping is an old reflex, your hands and legs are grown now, they are known, to you, to your weaknesses, you can catch your slips before you fall. You know your hands, you can control them, it won’t be like before, you won’t free fall.
You don’t fall in one step, a little slip, just like it didn’t take you one step to get here. It took hundreds of pep talks and tears and years. It took making promises and breaking them and remaking them. It took not giving up every day. It took losing loved ones and finding new ones.
This view won’t be the only one you see. Dear nimble climber, there is so much ahead, new mountains, new rivers to wade through, cosy campfires to sit through. Don’t focus on losing what you have, focus on what is., Ttunnel vision makes everything else darken.
Up here you can see the sunrise, to watch her rise again and again, as you did, celebrate her, celebrate you.
Look at yourself, look at where you are and hold it, hold the child you once were, your own arms are the cosiest place to be now.
Look out at this magnificent moment, take it in, take in that unsteady breath, and look down and love your legs, they carried, love your mind, she stayed with you.
An old village girl from the valley,
Dear Pheebee is Woroni’s advice column. If you would like to submit a request for advice please click here.